tv Obama CSPAN August 12, 2017 8:00pm-9:03pm EDT
we are proud of that exhibit and the rest of the year are all about that great rivalry between so much to the states history. second, i hope you will get a flyer coming in about the month of july were having our annual backpack drive with district 186 and if you donate of backpack you get free admission to the museum that is good for the rest of the year and transferable. if you bring five backpacks and you get five free admissions. please consider doing that. it's for a good cause. all those backpacks go to underserved kids in district 186. please do consider bringing in backpacks. finally, please put on your calendars are all american picnic which will host in union square park on saturday august 19. from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. we'll have food and activities
and end with the classic movie, field of dreams. continuing our baseball theme this year. again, thank you for being here and it's my pleasure to introduce our speaker, peter baker asserts that the new york times chief white house correspondent and in that capacity his boss must give him combat pay. i hope he does. peter is a terrific journalist having served previously for 20 years of the washington post where he covered the clinton and george w. bush presidency. he also served in afghanistan and iraq. he began his work your time serving as white house correspondent for covering obama and as the administration ended his bureau chief in jerusalem and was the victory of donald trump they called him back to the chief white house correspondent. in addition to all of that because obviously peter doesn't have enough to do he's also authored a lot of books as well. he wrote the about the impeachment trial of president clinton.
criminal in rising all about vladimir putin's russia in days of fire, bush and cheney. he does not shy away from important topics. i thought it was well researched and very evenhanded in its analysis and well-written. i'm proud to call peter a friend and colleague. of course now he has penned obama: the. i can't tell you how much we have appreciate peter taking time from his extremely busy life and to join us here tonight. please welcome my friend, peter baker. [applause] >> thank you all for coming. what a great crowd. can you hear me in the back? good. great. terrific.
this is a fabulous crowd and i can't think the presidential library enough. as he told already, we've got to know over the years and i couldn't respect him more. he did a fabulous job of setting up the george w. bush library in texas in you should go by and see it. it's terrific. obviously he's doing a good job here as well and i got a chance earlier to look through the museum and got a sneak into the vault as well and i have to say i called my wife like a geeky fan and was very excited to be here. what a treat. i won't talk too long and i want to open it up for questions and i'm not very good at speechifying but i want to start with this because i realize i have a different crowd than i usually have. how many people in this room were at the old statehouse when barack obama first announced for president? oh yeah. that's a crowd. this is something.
[applause] i should be asking you questions. you guys know him better than i do. what a great. i don't get an audience like this often. you will keep me honest if i get anything wrong. i can't imagine a place better to talk about barack obama and kick off a book about barack obama's presidency than here in the land of lincoln. when he kicked off his presidency he did it emulating the 16th president and he lost his white house in the old statehouse where lincoln began his career and he arrived in washington on inauguration day for on the same route that lincoln took and he took the oath on lincoln's bible and he named a cabinet that everyone talks about being a team of rivals much like lincoln's was
and there was a very heady moment, of course, as you all remember here's another coming of abraham lincoln but what was interesting is that he wasn't the only president compared barack obama to, was he. it was remarkable to see the remark analogies that were out there in the beginning. we thought of him as this hopeful new generation symbol and he was cast as a latter-day john kennedy, jack kennedy, the cool camelot with the beautiful family living in the house and what an extraordinary symbolic break from the past that was any thought of him as fdr because he's taking over a time where it looks like we might head into a new depression and we were already at war in iraq and afghanistan in time magazine put him on the cover with an fdr cigarette holder in his glasses and some people called him another george washington because he did a cover of him in
the powder wig you remember that in some people compared him even to reagan even though ideologically very different but a harbinger of a new political era and things started to go bad the comparisons changed a little bit and he was likened to lyndon johnson for setting tens of thousands more troops to afghanistan before vietnam and some people compared him to eisenhower and said he had hidden hand presidency where he was quietly in public but pulling the strings behind the scenes and avoiding military entitlements the way ike did. when things went bad and people compared him to richard nixon and said that he was abusing his executive authority and people on the left said he was too much like george w. bush because he didn't do enough to change the counterterrorism strategy that they didn't like and on the right they called him the new jimmy carter and said he was an elite intellectual and it got to
the point where i interviewed one of his top aides about all of this and one side and said sometimes i think the only president he hasn't been compared to is franklin pierce which is probably good because pierce was a drunk. [laughter] and barack obama was not. that tells you about who barack obama was which is that we wanted to see in him many different things. he came on stage in the national sense as a bit of a cipher. we didn't know him the way you knew him here in illinois and people in illinois might not of known them as well as we do. he was a fresh based on the national stage and we could remember him winning the presidency in our lifetime. no other president has spent in a national office with positional power than barack obama had and this is two years in the senate in washington before he started running. i think that stems from the fact
that he wasn't like any of the presence where we had the looks for analogies and comparisons because he wanted to be able to define him. he himself said during the 2008 campaign that he didn't look like all the presidents on the dollar bill which is true. of course that meant in some way the reference to his role in the breaking barriers. he was the first african-american president which that would always be the first line but he didn't want that to be the only line in his obituary. he was determined to be more than the new complexion in the oval office. beyond his status as an avatar of a new era he managed to captivate and confuse the nation at the same time. he presented himself as the champion of the new progressive era and he would bring healthcare to universal and he would argue for the case for active government to be a force of good society and he
established a nine ideological were not a red america, blue america were all one america is people saw in him very contradictory things. even if they didn't necessarily reconciled to be delivered it's hard to be a champion of liberal values and eight nonpartisan bridgebuilder at the same time. as he himself once said i'm like a. [inaudible] treated people saw him what they wanted to see. he was currently defining and redefining in crafting his own identity. one of the things you see in the books about obama is the consistent theme is whether it's david remnick's book or than new book by david garo, all this talk about identity and creating identity and to some extent obama success on the national stage was creating identity for himself. first through what became a best-selling book a well-written thoughtful, interesting discussion of race in society
and his own generation and then through the politics of modern society through the arts of david axelrod and so forth and there was constant creation and recuperation of identity throughout his rights. but he was opaque. he was opaque even to those who covered him. he didn't come back to the air force one and chat with reporters. he didn't throw his hand around you and asked how your kids were. he was the opposite of his very unfiltered vice president joe biden who would do all those things. joe biden was up there right now is a very authentic man in whatever you think of him good or bad, right or wrong on the policies he is what he is and he is exactly what you see in public. he is to have, every year a barbecue on the lawn of the vice president's mansion and for kids of reporters and staff and they put up these moon bounces and
water games all over the place and he would run around the backyard squirting guns at all the kids. the first year, the kids actually all teamed up on him. by the second year he figured it out and he rousted them and made him his posse and attacked the reporters. that is not obama. that's not the kind of guy he was. he didn't roll that way. he was a reserved personality, intellectualize, he was thoughtful and not like george w. bush. he didn't get out playful nicknames to people. he was not like bill clinton who charged into any card you find. my favorite story about bill clinton he would go out and hit the robe while hillary would wait in the window and it would be endless because bush and biden and bush and biden and clinton were experts in
political creatures and they got a charge out of people out of crowds and barack obama was not like that. he was probably the first introvert since jimmy carter in the white house. not saying he didn't like people but he did not get energy from a crowd the way these others did. his staff told me that they would have to give leave five or ten minutes after an event for him to recharge his battery because it would drain him a little bit. that is not unusual and normal for a lot of people but in politician it's pretty unusual. that's one of things that made him stand out as an unusual present. it didn't mean that he was cold necessarily. he was compared famously to mr. spock and if you remember mr. stott box he was half human. i don't think that's a bad comparison to think of because there's a human side to barack obama just as they are to every
one of our presence. he loved to stay up night and watch sports center he was a fierce competitor on the basketball court. a real trash talker and he would bump and jostle with the twentysomething aides and razz them for missing a shot and, come on man you to pick it up in the ambassador russia he was you got to get those knees going. he had a side to him that we didn't see in public as much that was pretty colorful. in fact, he would family man who made sure to leave the oval office by 630 every day so he could go home and have dinner with his kids and he used to say that one great thing about the white house was that living above the store and you got to see her family more than he had on the campaign trail. he was very good about going to the girls vessel games on the weekends and we'd all get in the motorcade and go out there and wait in the car with the ambulance in the back while he coached basketball and there's even emotional moments and i
remember very vividly when the new town schoolmaster happened and president obama came out to the briefing room to talk about that he couldn't control himself. he he lost his composure which i don't think we see him do very often and he started to speak and he paused for like eight seconds and that's a long time for president to stand there and not say something and then he went on again and paused again because he couldn't control his own emotional reaction which is contrary to his reputation. he took over an extraordinary time and with great challenges. we were on the economic and the war in the middle east that was not just russia and at home he had grand ambitions to reinvent health care and energy and climate change in immigration and gun control in government spending and some of this he managed to accomplish but he
also found himself the target of a conservative backlash. he alienated a lot of the country and we saw in the form of the tea party rise that came in cost him both houses of congress that of the two elections that followed. barack obama 12 national elections pretty convincingly but the three other that matter to him he lost all three. he lost the house in 2010 in the senate in 2014 and of course he lost the white house in 2016. the country was in a sour mood before his pregnancy and to the entire presidency gallup poll showed not once but the american public in the majority of americans in gallup poll say they thought the country was in the right direction. at the. only 11% of americans were happy with the country's direction. he had this phenomenon where the
current -- it says something about that. that even something as undeniably positive as hunting down and dispatching osama bin laden only was a short-lived sense of unity and consensus from the country. i think partly because the an economic recovery brought us back from the abyss and it cut unemployment in half but it also left many people feeling behind and resentful. there clearly was a sense that he had not represented a significant portion of the population as they saw their needs and governments. he became, instead of a change agent to many americans part of washington. i think it's interesting in a lot of ways because he's not the first president to come into office promising unity only to
become a polarizer. all the presidents basically shared that aspiration. present clinton is a phrase the repair of the briefs as isaiah said and by that he meant as partisan breach in washington and within two years he had been impeached and we were in a very partisan argument over his conduct and what was the proper response to that. president bush came to office wanted to be a uniter not a divider and he was just as genuine as in wanting that to be the case and yet through iraq war and the decisions he made the country was as divided as ever. president obama was surprised to discover that he couldn't fix that. it was the one thing he said publicly that he regrets in his state of the units were the end he said that's the thing i just
underestimated how divided we are in my ability to bring people together but in that leads us to his successor and did not come into the office promising to be a uniter and is not someone who wants to unite, clearly, and therefore presents the country in a time where we see them today. we blame our politicians for our paralysis but, in fact, in some ways we ought to think about ourselves because there representing us. we are, these days more and more, living, working, talking in existing in a bubble with people who agree with us. if you are liberal you watch msnbc if you're conservative you watch box and it extends beyond our viewing habits even to where we live. there is a breaking point at 800 people. square mile if you look in the
place that has fewer than your twice as likely to be a republican. if you live in a place with more than 800. square mile your twice as likely to be a democrat. for living with people who agree with us. in fact, the poll showed back in the early 60s asked people would it bother you if your son or daughter married someone from the other party and only about four or 5% said, yeah. a few years ago someone asked the same pole and among democrats they said 35% said i don't want a republican in lost. almost 50% of republicans don't want a democrat hanging out things giving. we, are increasingly divided and that's the politics that has come to washington that president obama struggled with and the challenge as the last three presidents we had. he regularly noted that the easy issues don't come to his death.
only the hard ones. that is right and it's not just true for him but for everyone. imagine that your whole time in office is spent dealing with our discussions possible and he got to the point it got to the point where he was so beaten down by the choices in front of him that he and his first chief of staff, rahm emanuel, used to joke that they'd moved to hawaii and open up a t-shirt shack and they would have one kind of shirt, white which is one size, medium and became such a running joke that when they faced a terrible choice we authorize this drone strike rahm emanuel would turn to obama and say white and obama would look back and say medium. look, you know, if all these times they put a toll on him and if you look at those pictures he
is grayer on top but he carried himself through his presidency with a lot of calm toys and very different from other politicians who are more expressive and he rarely rushed into decisions and sometimes to a fault. he sat alone at the white house late at night reading briefing papers or playing words with friends after his wife and daughters had gone to bed and he was very disciplined guy. the only indulgence he permitted himself was a handful of almonds. in fact, his chef joked to my colleague and said that he only allowed himself seven almonds, not six, not 87 almonds. and i became a running joke. sometimes he did have six, he denied it. it tells us something that that was the joke that his own chef and his wife, by the way, used to make. i think it was a humbling
journey for him. what started off as confidence seem to many it was hubris in a startup promising that the rise of the oceans began in flow and the planet would begin to heal by the low point of his second term he had radically revised his expectations. remember his staff had told me that there are no lincoln's anymore and only presidents were trying to get through difficult times. i thought the exhibit here at the museum reminded us that lincoln was not a lincoln, at first either. in fact, if you look to the very display of put us on and political factions that his time it was pretty tough. he was called all sorts of terrible things. people do not necessarily love lincoln and all parts of the country and did not revere him the way we do today. i think that's the trial of being a president. you find yourself constantly second-guessed and scrutinized and criticized; often for a good
reason but it's no question a very difficult job. i think for president obama there were things he can feel proud of what his legacy bringing the economy back from the abyss and getting bin laden and there are parts of his legacy that he wishes he could have done differently. syria, being an obvious example. he lay down a red line that he didn't exactly enforce on the chemical weapons. and his inability to stop that civil war and find a formula that would keep america from becoming entangled in another iraq. he wanted to avoid stopping the situation. these are the lessons learned and he lowered his own expectation to realize that presidents can't single-handedly
change the world themselves but they can do the best they could and pass off to the future generation. he said that to my friend david from that, as a president you are a really number in a river full of rapids and that river is history. at the end of the day were part of a long-running story that we try to get a paragraph right. this book, i hope is the first draft of his paragraph. with that i'd love to see if we can open up intake questions and tell me what i got wrong about obama and what we should be thinking. we have a couple microphones in the audience and we will raise hands in c. tell me who you are, give me your name and your credit card number, please have mike will have a good conversation. [laughter]
>> i was wondering if you could tell us what happened to all of the czars smart. >> can you hear me? >> the question is what happened with all the czars, obama appointed energy czars and the middle east bizarre and all these czars in the white house and state department. it's kind of a political fiction that makes you think they will do something and this is not the only one but the idea of the czars sounds good and will have someone cutting through the bureaucracy and some of them did important things and we appointed ron to supervise that the response of ebola and it made a difference. they actually did manage to conquer or stop the spread of people in africa and keep it from spreading here in america but some of them didn't work out
and present trumpet basically done away with his white house there is one czar. [laughter] i think he likes to be the guy in charge and make sure everyone knows it. we must have other questions. there we go. >> in my supposed to tell you my name? my name is catherine harris. my question is do you think that one of the current presidents things to do is to tear down the legacy that previous presence he had smart. >> that's a great question. if the current job is to tear down the job. i've written about this and we talk about this very subject and your very timely. i think that every president
comes in wanting to set a new direction especially those who are succeeding at present of another party. what i find striking for present trumpet makes a point of undoing things his predecessor had done. richard nixon came in and he didn't undo -- he left in place and ronald reagan promised to abolish jimmy carter's apartment of energy and in the end he didn't. these presidents wanted to move forward with her own proactive agendas and their own things they wanted to build but this is different from the previous president but they didn't spend time on doing things and present trumpet in his first six months has spent a lot of time trying to undo things. oddly, he pulled the those out of the pairs climate agreement
and president obama had negotiated and he reversed him on the keystone paradigm and he's on done a lot of environmental business regulations and has tried to reverse the health care plan and the dodd frank regulations and he's been critical of things like the iran nuclear deal and i think they would argue that like a real estate developer you need to clear out the lot before you can build a new building and they want to clear out what they think are damaging or wrongheaded things that his predecessor has done and that would be better for the country and then he can come and build new programs that he wants to build. the risk is you end up looking as a negative rather than a
positive. presidents want to be a positive force and with healthcare you see the debate in the last 24 hours it's not so easy to undo things that the previous presidents have done especially involving legislators and other countries. president trump had success in undoing some of his. you could argue that president obama basically made his own bed because he did a lot of things with executive authority when he got frustrated that congress didn't go along with him. if you live by the pen and phone, the strategy that president obama talk talk, you will die by the pending phone. the last 24 hours with healthcare we've seen congress isn't so easy to go along with and we now see that effort is not dead because anything can
happen in congress but i don't see how it will get easier in the weeks to come so that raises the question that if obamacare doesn't survive what shape is it in perspective will there be any need to shore it up because they are having real trouble and senator mcconnell said maybe we need to work with democrats to find ways to shore up the exchanges so that people don't struggle to find those counties with only one provider and so forth. that will be an interesting test. >> do you feel that once president obama became president that that was the beginning of our partisanship? i look back through the years in the vietnam war and nixon and reagan and even the second bush,
i did not see the partisanship that there is now, you have liberals, conservatives and they won't talk to each other. did it start with him smart. >> did the partisanship really get started with obama is that would really got it going? i would say no. our country actually has been purely partisan since the beginning and we built the system to be this way. we built this to be hard and we didn't say that we have a king and they said we have three branches of government and all of them have, to some extent, coequal power and we made it hard to pass a law that not only do you have to get one house to pass but you have to get to houses and you have to agree on the same and then you send it to
the president and he or she has to approve it so i think we build in conflict with our system to start with. it's a really rough time and the way to walk around this great facility and across the street understand how deeply divided we have been at various moments and not every day do we have a civil war, thank god, openly will never see it again but the issues that continue to divide us and mccarty is him and watergate and vietnam and we've had moments of great divisiveness in the past and what happened to though it has grown more partisan to some extent partly because the political party since the 60s have increasingly drifted to their ideological homes and with lbj trying to get civil rights through congress he worked with northern republicans and some democrats and it was a southern democrats were on the other side and now today anyone, all the conservatives are in party and
its more republican, democrat that used to be but i'm not sure it's not liberal conservatives. i think that different parties with .2 different moments in the real start of the day, modern, partisan polarization is fill in the blank. clarence thomas or jim wright or newt gingrich or clinton's impeachment anyone can point to a starting point and say from that point it became much more partisan and i think it's been growing with these presidents. the last 30 years we've seen a rise in each presidency and it's been encouraged by the demographics and if you're a republican congressman you are much more likely to be challenge from the right then you are from the left and you have to worry about the conservative base. same if you're on the left.
you have to worry about your liberal base more than you have your right and you're not as likely to work together on bipartisan legislation because there's no reward, only penalties. congress and politics is about incentives and disincentives and for congress it used to be that there was a incentive to be seen as bipartisan. today that is considered you are not loyal and you're a rino and you're not republican or you're only in name only or your soft liberal president obama, we forget about this today because his numbers are higher today than they were in a quite a while but a bloomberg post that he's more popular today than he was in the first year of his presidency when he was riding high but what we forget is for a lot of his presidency liberals were disappointed with him that he wasn't more liberal and that he worked status on public option and he had a counterterrorism strategy and the incentive structure is has been fueled by social media, twitter, facebook and all these
venues that serve to pull us apart more and amplify the angry voices more. i would say the media plays a role in that too and i'm sure we amplify that as well but i think about this and people say we have deficits now on twitter and all of that but i think those people used to be out there but they had to sit down and write a letter and find the address and get a stamp and put it on an envelope and walk it to the post office and it was harder. today send e-mail and done what did lincoln do? lincoln is a great example. when lincoln was angry and he had real anger at his generals, particularly mcclellan, he write a scathing letter and put it in a drawer and wouldn't send it to the next day and by the next day he had thought better on it. no one put the treat in the drawer. [laughter]
certain people she would. over here. >> my name is mike. could you tell us about your wife and family and also about. [inaudible] and also maybe many of you have forgotten but we used to have something called a fairness doctrine which would prevented rush limbaugh from having his show on the radio because he would've had to have opposing viewpoints on it. >> the question is about the fairness doctrine, my wife and son. the fairness doctrine has been supplanted by the proliferation of media. i'm not a legal expert but the idea was that was back in the
day when we had three channels and coupled major national newspapers and i was pretty much it in today if you want your voice heard the matter how extreme and no matter how left far right there are venues for you to do that in places that rush limbaugh and the equivalent of the left get their message out. the larger attitude is as long as there is a marketplace of ideas that people have access to that the most important thing. by the way, i think in general that's good. the polish asian media is good and it's great to have a washington post in the daily column. what worries me is that we only read those that we agree with. when i tell people you watch msnbc, great but every once in a while turn on fox. i know, i know. turn it on anyway. maybe you'll substitute for coffee and it will get you going.
by the way, i tell people who watch box, watch msnbc in a while. it's healthy that we understand other parts of the country see things differently and we don't have to agree with that. i'm not telling you to agree with anyone but it's healthy for us to understand how another segment of our country sees the world and what issues are important and what lens they are seeing things through. we will see them better if we take a risk and we only read or watch things that we agree with. one, would agree with that. glenn ifill, he's my friend and host of washington week for so many years and my model of an amazing journalist. maybe the best television journalist i have ever known. what i loved about her was her curiosity and her fascination
with story and the people behind them and she wanted to know things and figure things out and talk about them. she had a partisan bone in her body i didn't know what it was. she was fair to everyone and evenhanded and she just cared about the issues and things that were important in the country and i loved loved being on her program every chance i got and i'm sorry she is gone. she left a great legacy that we should all try to emulate. my wife is the other greatest journalist i know she's the editor of politico and after the election she founded political magazine which is part of what they do in a long reform story, deeper magazine and before that she was editor of foreign policy and we were in moscow together and she's an amazing editor. today she's doing a weekly podcast and i urge you to listen to it called global political and she interviews interesting people every week. tim baker, condoleezza rice,
fascinating people. we have a journalistic household. we worry about bringing up a kid in washington and if there is a danger to it to become very washington and my son who i love more than anything in life went and played in the pool the other day with his friends and set up lane marco polo they played marco rubio. [laughter] i probably thought that is not good. marco. rubio. he said to me that i try to get them to plate mike pence but they wouldn't have any of it. [laughter] he's a great kid and i hope he does something other than journalism but anyway. he's 12. how about right here.
>> back to the polarization that we've been having for the last 30 years or more, where do you see it going and do you see any solution to which and will we be able to end it before it destroys us. >> that is a great question and it's one of the central questions of our time. i don't know. you feel like it burns itself out and at some point we say we have to find a different way of doing things but every moment that encourages people to say that diminishes immediately and vanishes immediately and there are acts of violence where we come together and say we are one country and one we ought to have our differences civil and respectful and at last about five minutes and so i don't know what event or issue would change the dynamic and i think the mechanisms in place and the
accelerants of the arson investigators are still there and i don't know how that changes and look, there are people out there who find that good. one thing president trump showed us was that they supposedly wanted to fight and they think the combinations between left and right have made them too much alike and there is in fact a permanent class in washington that has taken us all for a ride that we need an outsider to break things up. they took a chance on a guy who's never been in public office before because there are so deeply frustrated with the existing system and they sent a bulldozer to washington and said tara down and let's try it again and will it work out that way and will see how he adapts because it just doesn't work out that way. i don't know how the public will responds.
polls show that he has lost and he that 36% in the polls. that could change. he's obviously a remarkable people figure and he did something that no one expected an outsider like him to do and we will see how he manages to take the six months and translate this. however right here. >> my name is jim ebert. i wanted to know do you know more than now what. [inaudible] the reason why they should continue bush's policies in afghanistan and at the terrorism or what not and you say he
retained bush's policies. i always wonder if we know more now than then about what were trainees excuses in his reasoning that changed obama's find smart. >> the question is about obama preserving some of what president bush had done in terms of counterterrorism. one of the things that people we get confused because president obama runs against first term for gw bush but he inherited second term george w. bush. before leaving office, bush had moderated in changed a lot of policy. waterboarding hadn't happened in his second term at all. president obama came in and bans torture but it already had actually stopped. president obama wanted to" animal and president bush had started off that path before he left office. in fact, he got more detainees out of, no then president obama
did. he got the congress to approve the secret surveillance program that everyone objected to that the new york times broke the story about in congress bought into it and senator obama voted for it. the military tribunal rejected were recast and congress brought into it and so president bush spent a lot of time trying to moderate his program and get rid of some of the harshness and the more extreme edges so that the next president wouldn't feel the need to throw it all out and cheney objected to it but thought to bush tooth and nail in the second term against a lot of these decisions he made and was very upset about that. in the beginning of obama's presidency when you see cheney coming after obama publicly what you really saw was a proxy for cheney's private fight that he had been having with bush for the four years prior with bush.
his feelings were more or less the same which was a change in policy were dangerous and too weak minded and the end of bush was closer to the beginning of obama then cheney would have liked and by the time bush left office because of the search, things have calmed down a little bit but security was better and he signed an agreement with the iraqis to pull all americans troops out by 2011 and what di did -- obama did the same thing. he kept the bush schedule. there is more continuity between the end of bush in the beginning of obama than anyone would have thought if you listen to the rhetoric. behind you. >> i wanted to follow up on the. [inaudible]
from the beginning that was what the republicans wanted to do and now that the affordable care act and what they wanted to do has been defeated three times and another thing -- the democrats won't help us and they didn't help the democrats and do you think now that this has happened and maybe now we will get them to work together? >> that's a great question. one party one man's. [inaudible] and there is no question that republicans didn't do a lot to help president obama and the democrats are doing a lot to help president trump and you could argue how much obama should have done more or trump should have done more to reach out and it is the nature of our time. each party rewrite the rules to
be more divided and then power shifts complain about the rules they had put in place because the other guys get to use the same rules. it's not surprising that the democrats aren't wanting to repeal what they thought was their biggest achievement. i will correct you on one effectual thing. mitch mcconnell, for lack of a better word, said at the end of the second year obama's term when they headed into the midterm and they said any democrat on a truth serum they wanted to make president trump a one term president. that's the name of the under nature of the partisan system. a better example for your point might be that on the night of his inauguration in 2009 a
number of republicans got together including paul ryan and had dinner and began to lay out what they would basically be a pattern of resistance or obstruction whatever creech want to use from the beginning and those folks did in fact say we will not cooperate and this is not a presidency we want to be a part of. the incentive structure is now doesn't work. it does seem to me that there are both parties agree ought to be done to fix the health care system that even if you like obamacare the things that certainly liberals would like to fix and conservatives understand and are broken as well and that there is a moment where we might see it. mcconnell himself, doctor no, or whatever, did say we might have to work with democrats. i know it's a hard thing to imagine but it is conceivable because without some sort of legislative fix there are
problems out there and i don't know, president trump said today i will let it fail and collapse and the democrats will be to blame and then they will want to work with me. that's a very interesting attitude and i don't know how that will play out. i'm not in excellent at healthcare policy but i don't think we've seen the end of the issue. i just don't have a lot of and i stopped making predictions in washington. one reason i'm not making is the bipartisanship. right here. >> thank you. i just can't help but bring up how much the country has been confronted with the issue of
race as being a real strong catalyst to the obstruction and from the beginning of president obama's presidency it has seemed that that has been the underlying tone that no one wants to talk about. least of all, him. what i see -- i am only 40 years old so i don't have and haven't been through that many presidencies in my adult life but the degree of the divide in the nature of the divide seems like nothing else ever before. people don't talk about the difference in policy anymore. we talk about anger and vile, hateful language and hating each
other and it's a very deep and dark and depressing to me. what i see now going forward and those who are conservative or right-wing say obama was the biggest divider of them all. immediately what comes to mind is that he didn't divide you but perhaps he made you face what you don't want to see, what you don't want to emit, what you didn't want to say in public which is that this is not the type of president or president i want and can handle. that has, to me, turned everything upside down and my husband and i, my husband is caucasian, and what we talk about is this the conservative old man, a white man's, last stand to pull down everything and be as hateful and racist and
misogynist as possible. i feel like everything is termed upside down and when no one has empathy for each other we don't talk about let's look at why we voted no for the health care plan. what to do not like about it? why didn't you vote no. let's just come out publicly and talk about the fact that you wouldn't know. we teach our children to talk about issues differently. could you comment on this? >> there is no question that is earned by the country did not like barack obama because of the reasons of race. this country -- will not solve that issue. as much as this moment in grant park, eight-nine years ago it might think that we had moved, we have not moved as we had hoped.
i was struck that even people -- a lot of republicans found obama's election a hopeful sign even if they didn't vote for him. a lot of pushes people voted for barack obama, including his top economic people were bothered by what they saw on the other side. i think john mccain, even when he lost, for a small moment, found some good in the ideas that the country had elected someone who never would have been elected in the past even though he didn't want this particular guy. then we saw what happened over those eight years with race being such a flashpoint and one that the president himself was reluctant to address. he did not want to be an african-american president for
he wanted to be an president who is african-american. he wanted to be judged and evaluated on his climate policies and economic policies and did not want to be thought of entirely by a racial prism and avoided talking about it in his first term particularly. in his second term, freed about the worry of reelection and confronting a more prevalent series of events that made it harder to ignore and became more vocal about it. early on he felt burned by the skip gates, harvard professor, african-american, comes to his home and is arrested in his own home by cambridge massachusetts police officer mistaken arrest, obviously and racially charged but resident obama is asked about it and said they acted stupidly. it caused a big fuss and we have to have a. [inaudible] the white house.
[inaudible] president obama did not want to have another beer with another set of people like that so he didn't talk about it for four years. with tremont martin, baltimore, ferguson, he didn't have a choice. he began talking about it more and begin to find his voice a little more and, i think, we all discovered that there is still a lot of real issues out there. president trump, obviously, runs a campaign that, at the very least, took advantage of some of that and you could argue that he stroked it. having said all that, the ugliness of our politics did not start with barack obama and critics accused got accused of
running drugs out of arizona and all sorts of things of there's no evidence and in some cases we saw it, misconduct. the more extreme versions of it was that it was extraordinary things that he was accused of. by the way, stay with george w. bush. extraordinary things. we can he was called a nazi, compared to hitler, their touch of this julius caesar but there was a movie called made the assassination of george w. bush. i'm not saying race doesn't play a role but undoubtedly, part of our politics right now is one more element that president obama confronted and in some cases chose not to confront.
there's insights about the nature of the presidency and our country. you would think they were a different party when they had battled through elections in pretty tough ways. i think that's because, especially when you leave office, there are only six people alive who have confronted the issues they have confronted. the issues do not get any better if the other party takes over. of course there still rotten to the core. they understand each other better, they have more of a shared sense of purpose and experience and i think they do get along, especially after they leave office, much better than they do when their in-house or campaigning because they have moved to a different stage of their life in a different stage of the nation.
i think president obama likes president bush, likes president clinton and jimmy carter two. the common good friends jimmy carter and gerald ford became. clinton said he's the black sheep of the family and george w. bush calls him my brother from another mother. they end up sharing things. when i covered them, i saw similarities. bush and clinton were much more like in their outgoing nature and the love of politics and being with people , their gregarious approach to the world. obama was like clinton in the sense that he liked to dig deep on the issues and spent a lot of time thinking about it, maybe too much time thinking about it. once the decision was made, obama was like look, never
look back. he didn't second-guess things. they all have these personality traits that have nothing to do with party and i think some of their experiences are more alike than they're not. >> thank you. >> book tv is on twitter and facebook. we want to hear from you. tweet us him at twitter.com/ book tv or post a comment on our facebook page, facebook.com/book tv.